Drama in education is a learning experience that is based on working in role and is active, interactive, reflective, shared and creative. Drama in education cuts across subject-matter lines and brings together various aspects of the curriculum in a meaningful way. With the current focus on emotional health, schools are seeking ways to build resilience and combat bullying. In 2013 the Gaiety School of Acting outreach team in responding to the problem created a unique training programme “In their shoes” for teachers and students of Primary Schools.
The course content for teachers is centred on the learning aims and objectives taken from the Primary school curriculum: Drama (DES, 1999). One strand ‘drama to explore feelings, knowledge and ideas, leading to understanding’ is addressed incorporating units
• ‘exploring and making drama’,
• ‘reflecting on drama’,
• ‘co-operating and communicating in making drama’,
The following strand and strand units, taken from the Primary school curriculum: SPHE (DES, 1999) will be also explored: ‘Myself and other people’, ‘my friends and other people’ and ‘relating to others’. The Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life report issued by the DES in 2011 which recommends the integration of literacy and numeracy skills with other curricular areas. This course also looks at ways of integrating such skills into the drama curriculum while maintaining the integrity of the drama itself.
The overall aim of the course is to give teachers themselves a chance to experience the drama at their own level. It is envisaged that each teacher will then be equipped with the skills to deliver same or similar content with their own students. Teachers are encouraged to plan and develop ideas; how they can use the methodology to support students’ learning across the curriculum. The GSA outreach team assisted in this process, by working for a week with students of the Scoil Mhuire Shankill, Lorreto primary school , Dalkey and St Aidans Parish School, Enniscorthy. Students of all years (from junior infants to 6th class) took part in participative workshops. Teachers’ feedback was consistent with the programme mission. The findings indicated that there was significant improvement in students’ attitude. Teachers continued implementing new methods and were confident in delivering the curriculum in a way that creates positive and innovative learning experiences within the classroom.
Summer courses for teachers:
Dublin 1-7th July or 17th -21st August
Cork 1-7th July or 17th -21st August